Floor graphics are continuing to evolve.
Short-term opportunities: Because floor graphics can be used virtually anywhere imaginable, more and more unique opportunities are emerging for applications that are here today and, well, gone tomorrow.
“Special events, like festivals, are an excellent short-term application,” says LexJet’s Mask. Numerous opportunities exist at the community level, but also for regional and national events that call for graphics directly at the event – and in numerous other locations where promotion is needed, such as short-term pop-up stores.
“Being in the New York area, I was involved with a lot of projects that had to do with Super Bowl XLVIII,” says xpedx’s Bunio. “A lot of the floor graphics were done in the most visible areas – one of the biggest being at Penn Station. There was a huge, huge campaign that incorporated almost the entire floor of Penn Station by Amtrak. That’s where we see a lot of trending toward the shorter-term graphics, up to maybe a month. Transit stations and bus stations are places where you can really see utilization of a lot of those types of graphics.”
Interior décor: There has been a growing trend in both residential and commercial spaces to merge the digital print and interior-design worlds, reports Ultraflex’s Matt Loede: “Flooring (commercial-grade printable vinyl floor and carpet), the advancement of tile-printing technology, commercial wallcoverings, digitally printable stretch ceiling fabrics, and many more innovative offerings are making the viability of custom digital print more realistic than it’s ever been. This segment is not only fast growing, but offers an opportunity to make a much healthier profit – especially for print shops that have seen downward pricing pressure due to increased competition and commoditization in some segments of the market.”
And although floor graphics would at first blush seem to be more directly applicable in commercial settings versus residential, Ultraflex’s Loede has seen an increase in volume from companies that have figured out how to market and sell to certain residential niches. These include car mats and garage floors for car collectors, as well as custom flooring for in-home use in areas where customers are willing to spend money. One of the more popular areas where this is happening, he says: the decoration of basements and so-called “man caves.”